CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 15. . . .December 10, 2010
Animals That Changed the World.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2010.
112 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $21.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55451-242-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55451-243-0 (hc.).
Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.
Review by Barb Taylor.
Sound far-fetched? Animals have changed the world since they first set foot, paw, and claw on Earth.
Keltie Thomas, a former editor of Owl Magazine, introduces her book with the fact that ancient microbes created an atmosphere conducive to evolving life on earth. Animals "romp, stomp, and tromp, eat, poop, and fart-and work for people-they are changing the world as we know it."
Gearing her text to an upper elementary school audience, Thomas uses researched facts and factoids to demonstrate the impact of creatures, ranging from invisible microbes to dinosaurs, on our physical and social world. Thomas wastes no words in grabbing the reader's attention. She discusses the impact of cattle, with subtitles including, "The World Screams for Ice Cream" and "The Lure of Manure," explaining how many cultures use manure as a heating and power source. She doesn't overlook the downside of animal impact on our world when pointing out that "bovine burps" increase methane levels, or when relating how plagues caused by rats and insects have had devastating impacts on humankind.
Most facts are limited to a paragraph or two written in a variety of fonts and accompanied with interesting photographs and sidebars. For instance, "Did you know a cat is one of the few domesticated animals that can survive in the wild? Could grazing animals be responsible for what is now the Sahara Desert?"
Animals That Changed the World is sure to be a hit with children, parents, teachers and librarians with its thought-provoking questions and answers.
Barb Taylor is an elementary teacher-librarian and freelance travel writer in Calgary, AB.
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